The World Wide Web Is 30 Years Old
You’re reading these words thanks to the internet. Before it, you might’ve needed to subscribe to a physical newsletter, or a magazine produced by the company directly. But with the power of the internet, and the World Wide Web, it’s easy to communicate with thousands, millions, or billions of people all at once. Believe it or not, that World Wide
May 2, 2023
You’re reading these words thanks to the internet. Before it, you might’ve needed to subscribe to a physical newsletter, or a magazine produced by the company directly. But with the power of the internet, and the World Wide Web, it’s easy to communicate with thousands, millions, or billions of people all at once. Believe it or not, that World Wide Web of ours turns 30 this year, and thank goodness for it.
“Imagine being able to communicate at-will with 10 million people all over the world … Imagine having direct access to catalogs of hundreds of libraries as well as the most up-to-date news, business and weather reports. Imagine being able to get medical advice or gardening advice immediately from any number of experts.Neal Conan, NPR
The internet existed earlier than 30 years ago, of course. You could go online and read, say, an NPR article. But it wasn’t like how it is now: You wouldn’t simply fire up Google Chrome and head to the website you wanted to check out. Instead, you would need to know the specific computer that contained the file (granted it was connected to the internet), then work to connect to that machine with your own. It was doable, but it wasn’t accessible.
As NPR explains, it’s the World Wide Web that changed all that. With its launch on April 30, 1993, “browsing the internet” as we know it became a reality. As long as you had a network connection, a browser, and a website you wanted to visit, the internet was your oyster.
But it wasn’t the NPRs of the World Wide Web that made the internet what it was. Sure, the internet changed traditional media, but what made it a sensation was the availability for anyone to create their own website to add to this worldwide network. There had never been anything like it, and it changed everything. In fact, in just two and a half years after the World Wide Web’s launch, it had more than 24 million users in the United States and Canada, who visited its websites for five hours a week on average.
Now, it’s difficult to imagine a world without the internet as we know it. It has its share of problems, many of which we’re still grappling with. But it empowers us to connect with our communities, families, and, frankly, the entire world in a way that was unthinkable before the 1990s.
Now, the the new “it” technology is AI. Like the World Wide Web in 1993, it feels like we’re on the precipice of great change. Perhaps in 30 years, we will hardly be able to imagine a time AI didn’t affect our lives in every way. But only time will tell.